SCHMIED (François-Louis). Way of the Cross. S.l.,... - Lot 123 - Ader

Lot 123
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Estimation :
30000 - 50000 EUR
SCHMIED (François-Louis). Way of the Cross. S.l.,... - Lot 123 - Ader
SCHMIED (François-Louis). Way of the Cross. S.l., [ca. 1931]. - In-4 oblong, 323 x 415. Plum morocco, boards decorated in the center with a large gilt anchored cross and black box, and at the four corners with a compartment composed of a gilt fillet, a cold fillet and a dark gray morocco band, smooth spine, plum morocco and black morocco band inside, plum moiré silk lining and endpapers, gilt edges on witnesses, case (Creuzevault). Sumptuous suite of 16 original gouaches by François-Louis SCHMIED, realized in collaboration with Gustave Miklos. This is a unique copy made for the businessman and explorer Gaston Gradis (1889-1968). The gouaches, measuring 160 x 220 mm, were executed on bristol board, with visible pencil preparations. They are all composed horizontally and represent 14 stations of the passion of Christ, each one being preceded by a sheet of Japanese paper with a golden rectangle in the center on the recto bearing the numbering and a radiating cross. There are a total of 16 gouaches numbered in Roman numerals and signed by Schmied in or under the frame of the drawing, with the exception of the sixth and eighth which are not signed. The sixth station consists of two gouaches, the second of which, unfinished, depicts the face of Christ wearing the crown of thorns, in the center of a large sheet. It is signed by Schmied who also gave this indication: "variant of the 6th station". Station 11 also includes two different finished gouaches, numbered and signed. All of these drawings were intended to be transposed into enamel but the project could not be completed as only seven enamels could be made, which were exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in January 1934. They were also used for at least two color woodcuts. This precious copy includes in addition to the gouaches a correspondence of 4 autograph letters signed by François-Louis Schmied to Gaston Gradis, mounted at the top. One is not dated, the others are dated August 3, September 16 and December 2, 1931. They provide interesting information on the chronology of the realization and on the enameling activity of the artist. In the first letter, which is undated and one page long, Schmied informs Gradis that he has completed four stations, one, two, four and thirteen. He specifies: "Completely alone in my house in Wissous, I find in my work, in this one, an immense comfort and the appeasement of my anguish. Perhaps the "Jesus loaded with his cross" is the most accomplished work I have produced. It has gently led me to a peace of heart unknown until now." In his second letter, two pages in-8 oblong, Schmied gives news of his children before talking about his work: "I am only working on the "Way of the Cross" without pushing my compositions further for the moment, because I am anxious to see what they will give to the enamel. I therefore devote most of my time to enlarging and transposing my watercolors. It is a job I cannot leave to the enameller, it is long, delicate, but very interesting; quite similar to the one of trimming a wood in colors, so I feel comfortable with it. I think we will have by the end of August the result of the first enamel: 'Ecce Homo'." In his third letter, a one-page oblong in-8, Schmied warns that he has left aside his Stations of the Cross in favor of the suite for Kim. He did, however, complete two more stations, three and four. In the last of his letters, a page and a half in-8 oblong, the artist acknowledges receipt of the 14,000 francs sent by Gradis for the payment of Stations 9 and 10. He reports that he has gone away for a few days in order to perfect the technique of their enamels. "I was very satisfied with the elements gathered by Mr. Laurent Monnier to carry out this realization. Everyone put a lot of taste and enthusiasm into it. If I succeed in transposing my drawing and my colors we will have a magnificent result. Very nice copy bound by Creuzevault. Some wear and tear on the spine. Slight spotting in the margins of the drawings of stations three and five. Provenance: Gaston Gradis (Alde sale, June 3, 2008, no. 54). - M.D., with bookplate (Christie's sale, April 27, 2015, No. 127).
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